How to Clean a Goose

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Pluck geese outdoors to make cleanup easier
Pluck geese outdoors to make cleanup easier (Image: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Clean a goose immediately after it's caught to preserve the quality of the meat. Whether you intend to keep just the breast meat or the whole bird, working quickly and precisely keeps the highly coveted goose meat fresh and uncontaminated after the hunt. Sharpen your fillet knife, roll up your sleeves and head outdoors for this messy task.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp fillet knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Fresh water
  • Paper towels
  • Airtight plastic baggies
  • Garbage sack

Plucking

Grip the bird by its feet and grasp a small handful of feathers on the goose's breast. Concentrate on the breast feathers, as this is where you will make your incisions.

Pull the feathers sharply away from the skin in the direction of natural growth. Apply enough force to separate the feathers from the skin without tearing or damaging it. Discard feathers in a garbage sack. Don't bother removing feathers on the neck, tail and wingtips as you will be discarding these.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Scald the goose with boiling water by slowly pouring the boiling water over the bird, or submerging it for one minute in the pot. This facilitates the removal of tiny pin feathers.

Pluck the remaining pin feathers with needle-nose pliers, taking care not to tear the delicate skin.

Deboning

Grip the bird's body on a flat surface with one hand, orienting the breast upward. Elongate the goose's neck with your other hand. With a strong, downward stroke, remove the neck and head from the body with a sharp knife.

Slice through the legs at each thigh joint and remove them from the body. Snap or cut the joint where the feet attach to the leg and discard the feet, preserving the leg meat.

Stretch each wing and cut the wing off the body at the first joint up from the bird's back, where the largest feathers develop. Discard the wing into a garbage sack.

Gutting

Place the goose on a flat surface with its breast up and feet nearest to you. This orientation makes it easier to control the incisions.

Locate the base of the rib cage at the belly and make a shallow incision from there to the right drumstick, following the contour of the ribs. Cut through the skin but not so deep that you puncture internal organs. Do the same thing on the left side of the abdomen.

Reach in with your hands and remove the gizzard, heart, gall and liver. Take out any buck shot, intestines and other guts found inside the cavity.

Rinse the goose with running water, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean your goose outdoors. It's a messy activity, and you will have feathers everywhere.
  • Use a sharp knife to ensure clean cuts. Precision is important so internal organs are not accidentally punctured during the cleaning process.
  • Plucking or tearing feathers in a backwards motion, against their natural growth pattern, will damage the skin.
  • Take care not to puncture or cut into the guts of the goose. This can contaminate the desired meat.
  • When you have many geese, stacking or piling them on top of each other captures heat and accelerates bacterial growth after the kill.

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